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Damages by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 ImageCreator http://www.thebluediamondgallery.com/typewriter/d/damages.html

Why the Government’s Copyright Board Plans Threaten to Spark Another Lobbying Battle

Copyright reform has long been viewed as one of the more contentious policy issues on the Canadian agenda, pitting creators, education groups, innovative companies, and a growing number of individuals against one another in processes that run for years and leave no one fully satisfied. Indeed, my Hill Times op-ed notes the copyright review currently underway before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology promises to run for months with MPs hearing from a broad range of stakeholders presenting perspectives that will be difficult to reconcile.

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June 5, 2018 Comments are Disabled Columns
46/365 Intellectual Property by Traci Lawson (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/63hXJc

Tackling IP Misuse: Canada Takes the Lead in Combating the Dark Side of Intellectual Property Protection

Navdeep Bains, Canada’s Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister, unveiled the government’s long-awaited intellectual property strategy Thursday by responding to the need to increase IP awareness, develop new IP tools for businesses, and counter IP misuse that harms both consumers and businesses. The plan to introduce new legislative rules to discourage misuse of intellectual property is particularly noteworthy since the rules should help foster a more progressive, balanced, and innovative legal framework.

My Globe and Mail op-ed notes that with proposed reforms to all of Canada’s main IP statutes, the government is taking the lead in combating the dark side of intellectual property protection. Since abuse of intellectual property rights may inhibit companies from innovating or discourage Canadians from taking advantage of the digital market, crafting rules that address misuse can be as important as providing effective protection.

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April 27, 2018 6 comments Columns
Mark Zuckerberg's original Facebook profile by Niall Kennedy (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/apNav2

Be Careful What You Wish For: The Risk of Ceding Online Content Monitoring to Internet Giants

As elected officials place Internet giants such as Google and Facebook under an increasingly intense microscope, the pressure mounts on those companies to play more proactive roles in policing content on their networks. In recent weeks, the demands have come from seemingly every direction: privacy commissioners seeking rules on the removal of search results, politicians calling for increased efforts to address fake news on Internet platforms, and Internet users wondering why the companies are slow to takedown allegedly defamatory or harmful postings.

My Globe and Mail op-ed notes Internet companies can undoubtedly do more, but laying the responsibility primarily at their feet poses its own risks as governments and regulators effectively cede responsibility for content moderation and policing to private, for-profit companies. In doing so, there is a real chance that the Internet giants will become even more powerful, limiting future competition and entrenching an uncomfortable reliance on private organizations for activities that are traditionally conducted by courts and regulators.

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April 19, 2018 10 comments Columns
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Broken Record: Why the Music Industry’s Secret Plan for iPhone Taxes, Internet Tracking and Content Blocking is Off-Key

The long-awaited Canadian copyright review is set to kick off hearings next week as a House of Commons committee embarks on a year-long process that will hear from a wide range of stakeholders. My Globe and Mail op-ed notes that according to documents obtained under the Access to Information Act, however, one stakeholder – the Canadian Music Policy Coalition, an umbrella group representing 17 music associations – got an early start on the review process last fall by quietly submitting a 30-page reform proposal to government officials.

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April 11, 2018 7 comments Columns
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Quebec Digital Sales Tax Plan Shows It Is Easier Said Than Done

Government officials and cultural groups in Quebec have been banging the drum for much of the past year for the imposition of digital sales taxes on services such as Netflix. The debate is often framed around the notion that Netflix and other Internet companies should be collecting sales tax like any other service provider. Supporters argue that other countries have begun to levy sales taxes on digital services and Canada should do the same.

My Globe and Mail op-ed notes the federal government has sent mixed signals to date, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejecting new taxes on the grounds that Canadians “pay enough for the Internet”, Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly seemingly keeping the door open to new taxes, and Finance Minister Bill Morneau committing to studying the issue while international standards develop.

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April 5, 2018 5 comments Columns